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Bill Would Give Ohio Cities Power To Make Their Own Gun Laws Again

Ohio lawmakers passed a law in 2006 that prevented local governments from passing any gun laws that are more restrictive than those enacted at the state level, and when cities challenged it, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the law. Now, there’s a move afoot to change it.

State Sen. Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) is sponsoring a bill to allow cities to, once again, implement gun reforms. He says the one size fits all approach now in place isn’t working.

“What may be of interest in the rural areas could be detrimental in an urban core," Thomas says.

Thomas points to rallies in cities where tempers are hot and guns are plentiful as examples of situations that local communities should be able to control the way they see fit. In a press release, Thomas notes that 16,374 Ohioans have died from gun violence since 2007.

No Republicans have signed on to his bill. And while polls have shown some public support for gun reforms, it will be a challenge to get enough majority Republicans to embrace the idea of giving control over gun laws back to cities.

Earlier this year, Columbus and Cincinnati each enacted a slate of local gun laws, including a ban of bump stocks. In March, Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein announced the city is suing the state to defend local gun restrictions.

Gun groups Ohioans For Concealed Carry and the Buckeye Firearms Association sued Columbus over the ordinances, but a 10th District Court of Appeals last month dismissed them as plaintiffs. Now the city is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to rule that individuals have no right to sue over the gun restrictions because they haven't been harmed.